venetia kapernekas gallery


A Portrait of the Dalai Lama (16 April - 3 May, 2008)

Robert McCurdy

· CV & Bibliography
· Selected Works

Venetia Kapernekas Gallery is pleased to present a limited-time exhibition, featuring the recently completed work by Robert McCurdy, a portrait of the Dalai Lama.

McCurdy's skillfully executed paintings, belonging to his series of portraits begun in 1997, distill the viewer’s traditional response before a portrait. The subject of his paintings is the gaze, not the portrait’s sitters, who in recent years have included internationally recognized figures such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison, Neil Armstrong, and Nelson Mandela. In front of the paintings, the viewer becomes aware of a deception—he becomes aware that what he knows about the sitter is merely a mass of impressions, derived either from the media or subjective experience of the sitter’s work.

These paintings do not strictly belong to the genre of photo-realism, in which the painting cannot exist without the photograph. Each painting is rather a minimalist portrayal of an image taken from a sustainable moment found during the portrait sitting, when space and time are negligible.

In this exhibition featuring a single example of artwork, absent any reference to the day’s (or yesterday’s or tomorrow’s) current events, the political activity that is currently circulating around the Dalai Lama will not be present. Beyond the viewer’s initial engagement, there will be only the exchange of a gaze.

Robert McCurdy has been exhibiting his photography and paintings for the past thirty years. He has previously shown at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Frye Museum, Seattle; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida; Le Tresors des Arts, Gstaad, Switzerland; Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; Nancy Solomon Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia; Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington; and Berry-Hill Galleries, New York, among others. McCurdy attained his BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and received an Arts Fellowship from Yale University. This is his fourth show with Venetia Kapernekas since 2001.


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